Mozart – The Seraglio
English Touring Opera
With The Seraglio, Mozart’s first real success in the theatre, the youthful genius was conscious of his Viennese audience’s fascination with all things eastern. The harem, or Seraglio, was its centre, surrounded by well-worn walls. Within, a young girl is clearly fascinated by a Pasha who rules by reason – he never sings, unlike his bumptious young rival, the boy from Seville.
For Belmonte, and the girl called ‘Konstanze’ (like Mozart’s wife), the young composer wrote his most passionate and difficult music; for their servants, Pedrillo and Blonde, he wrote his wittiest. They are a bit like castaways on an island, free of practical skill, finding out their strengths and weaknesses by trial and error.
Mozart up-ends all possible stereotyping in his singspiel. If you meet a more independent and assured maid than Blonde, maybe take cover; if you expect tyranny from everyone who frightens you, look closer at the Pasha.
Sung in English with English surtitles